Starbucks Mission: Social Responsibility
1. Why do you think Starbucks has been so concerned with social responsibility in its overall corporate strategy? Starbuck is concerned about its social responsibility because it is a very highly visible part of the company’s ethical practices. As the book stated, ethical practices and issues that are highly visible will have great influences on how the public perceives the company and their products or services. This perception is the deciding factor for consumers to either do business with the company or not.
Since Starbucks is a people business, it has to stress the importance of portraying the company in the right light for people to continue to purchase their services and products. People/consumers value social responsibility because it makes them feel that the company isn’t just after their money and actually cares about the wants and needs of the people as well as the environment. Starbucks giving back to the people for causes like HIV and AIDs and changing the way that they grow coffee are a few things that allow for the people to perceive the company an ethical business. By making this concern part of the overall company’s strategy, it instills it in every employee to make decisions that will follow the strategy and promote continuing ethical practices.
2. Is Starbucks unique in being able to provide a high level of benefits to its employees? From an ethical culture viewpoint, Starbucks is a unique company in being able to provide its employees a high level of benefits. It is a company that is concerned about social responsibility and extends that concern not to just people outside of the company but also within by providing its employees with a great health care program.
The company invests in its employees’ well being so that they in turn can work on the success of the business. It is also unique because providing these benefits have contributed to the company’s stability that shown through lower turnover rates and higher productivity from the employees. This uniqueness adds to Starbucks ethical practices as it shows that it cares for its employees and will attract more consumers that value the same level of ethics.
3. Do you think that Starbucks has grown rapidly because of its ethical and socially responsible activities or because it provides products and an environment that customers want? I think that it is because of both practices done by Starbucks. A company as big as Starbucks is made up of so many pieces that effect one another, so to have a good medium there has to be uniformity in everything it does. A decision whether its ethical or not will affect the next decision and so forth, so being both ethical and providing what the customers want has to be valued at the same level of importance for the company to be successful.
For example, if Starbucks only focused on ethics and social responsibilities made products that help promote that but doesn’t appeal to the customers, they won’t get much business. On the other hand, if all they cared about was what the customers wanted and how to make that meet those needs more efficiently, they could end up making decisions that will hurt the environment and people and will slowly lose customers as those practices surface.
In what other ways does this case relate to the concepts that we have learned in the chapters so far? This case helps reiterate why ethics is important, how to educate people about it, how to continue practicing it, and how it impacts everyone in and around business. These steps are shown through Starbucks corporate social mission as it applies to the environment, its employees, suppliers, customers and communities.
Starbucks created a Corporate Social Responsibility department to help develop, educate, and enforce ethical practices that follows their company’s mission. Starbucks shows us that ethics can help employees maintain their commitment to the company when they know and see that their company has an ethical culture where everyone shares the same values. Through all these different ethical commitments that Starbucks share with their employees, it leads them to the profits that they acquire in the end which makes the hard work worth it.